The Week Ahead in Cubs Minor League Baseball (April 7-13)

The Week Ahead in Cubs Minor League Baseball (April 7-13)

It's the first full week of Cubs minor league baseball, which will hopefully bring some better weather for the northern teams and fewer jackasses on rehab assignments for the southern teams.

This week is also the home opener for a few teams close to Chicago; both Kane County and Peoria will be playing (relatively) close to you this week! If you attend the home opener in Kane County Tuesday night, you're likely to receive a free Opening Day Cap; if only it came with some sort of ear flaps to prevent against the rainy, cold night that is currently expected.

AAA Iowa - 4 Games vs. Nashville, 3 Games vs. Memphis

The Iowa Cubs had a pretty rough opening weekend, dropping three of four to the Memphis Redbirds. They look to rebound against Milwaukee's AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, before facing off against Memphis in another four-game series. Chris Rusin gets to throw twice, so that...uh, that's exciting, right?

The Nashville Sounds roster isn't super exciting, but there are at least two interesting players to watch: Jimmy Nelson and Johnny Hellweg. Jimmy Nelson is Milwaukee's sixth starter, a prospect who is all but ready to start throwing to major league hitters. His stuff is just OK, and many think he's destined for a bullpen role.

Hellweg, who was part of the Zack Greinke trade, is an enormous human being who sits in the upper 90s, but has little command or secondary stuff to go with the heat. He's quickly falling off the prospect radar, but hey, sometimes bigger pitchers take longer to get their coordination down.

Probable Pitchers

    • Game 1: Yoanner Negrin (Maybe?) vs. Ariel Pena (NSH)
    • Game 2: Chris Rusin vs. Mike Fiers (NSH)
    • Game 3: Carlos Pimentel vs. Johnny Hellweg (NSH)
    • Game 4: Kyle Hendricks vs. Jimmy Nelson
    • Game 5: Eric Jokisch vs. TBA
    • Game 6: Yoanner Negrin (again, I have no idea yet) vs. TBA
    • Game 7: Chris Rusin vs. TBA

AA Tennessee - 1 Game @ Pensacola, 5 Games vs. Chattanooga 

The Smokies have their home opener this week and they get to open up against the Chattanooga Lookouts, a team that is tremendously less exciting than it was when Yasiel Puig was patrolling the outfield last spring. Chris Reed, a high-floor/low-ceiling prospect who was rated LA's 6th-best prospect by Baseball Prospectus, is now the best prospect on the team.

Probable Starters:

    • Game 1: Matt Loosen vs. Michael Lorenzen (PEN)
    • Game 2: Corey Black vs. TBA
    • Game 3: Dae-Eun Rhee vs. TBA
    • Game 4: CJ Edwards vs. TBA
    • Game 5: Ivan Pinyero vs. TBA
    • Game 6: Matt Loosen vs. TBA

High-A Daytona - 1 Game @ Brevard County, 3 Games vs. Dunedin, 3 Games @ Tampa

The Daytona Cubs enter the week by concluding a very strange away-home-away-home series with Brevard Country before playing 3 games each against the Blue Jays' and Yankees' High-A affiliates. The most intriguing prospect they'll face this week is likely to be 2013 1st round pick and Notre Dame alum Eric Jagielo, who will play 3B for the Tampa Yankees. Jagielo is a strong hitter with questionable defensive chops. Most sources from around the 2013 draft projected him to quickly develop into a .270/20-25 HR type of hitter.

Probable Starters:

    • Game 1: Rob Zastryzny vs. Jorge Lopez (BC)
    • Game 2: Yao-Lin Wang vs. Matt Boyd (DUN)
    • Game 3: Felix Pena vs. Taylor Cole (DUN)
    • Game 4: Jose Rosario vs. TBA
    • Game 5: Tayler Scott vs. TBA
    • Game 6: Rob Zastryzny vs. TBA
    • Game 7: Yao-Lin Wang vs. TBA

Class A Kane County - 3 Games vs. Fort Wayne, 3 Games vs. Lake County

Kane County makes its home debut this Tuesday, which is great news for all of us Chicago-based fans of the minor leagues!

The Padres' and Indians' Single-A Affiliates visit Kane County this week, and for the only time this season. If you're interested in seeing Jason Parks favorite Franchy Cordero play shortstop, now is your time! Both rosters are, unfortunately, not at the level they have been in the past, as Cordero is the only semi-big-time prospect coming through town this weekend (Dorssys Paulino will be here over the weekend, but his star has faded quite a bit).

Probable Starters:

    • Game 1: Jen-Ho Tseng vs. Walker Lockett (FW)
    • Game 2: Paul Blackburn vs. TBA
    • Game 3: Tyler Skulina vs. TBA
    • Game 4: Daury Torrez vs. TBA
    • Game 5: Juan Carlos Paniagua vs. TBA
    • Game 6: Jen-Ho Tseng vs. TBA Listings

MiLBtv April 7 Game of the Week

This week features few of the sexy matchups that last week did, but I think the Iowa Cubs vs. Nashville Sounds game on Thursday the 10th is the game to see: future back-of-the-rotation types Kyle Hendricks and Jimmy Nelson square off in a battle that will likely be played out a few more times down the road.

Promotion of the Week

The Memphis Redbirds are celebrating their 15th season of baseball in the beautiful AutoZone Park. I'm serious - it's consistently held up as a model minor league ballpark and business. To celebrate, there's going to be fireworks, $1 hot dogs, and BRING YOUR DOG TO THE PARK DAY.

If you've never had the chance to bring your dog to a ball park, let me tell you, it's incredibly fun. If you're in the Memphis area and you have a dog, do your best to get to Sunday's game.


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Filed under: Minor League News


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  • I haven't been to any other minor league parks, so I can't rank it, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I went there once when I was in Memphis on business and it's a beautiful ballpark.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    I myself haven't had the pleasure to visit the park myself, but every picture I've seen and article I've read have painted this picture of a beautiful ballpark that is always packed to the brim with stands. If I'm ever in Memphis I'll absolutely be going to a game there

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    Tommy, I love that you're doing these things weekly. It's one thing to hear names of prospects, but quite another to get the lowdown on the full schedule of games and events. I think with the big names the Cubs have coming up, it's easy to forget that they're a part of a much bigger system. I love minor league baseball and have the pleasure of being able to get to Indianapolis Indians games once in a while. I used to love heading to South Bend for Silver Hawks games too; I took my family to a Smokies game a few years back, missing Starlin Castro by just a couple weeks.
    Thanks for keeping up abreast of the goings-on outside of Wrigley.

  • Damn, dollar hot dogs. Good deal.

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